kinnish et al 2005.pdf

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C 2005) Archives of Sexual Behavior, Vol. 34, No. 2, April 2005, pp. 173–183 ( DOI: 10.1007/s10508-005-1795-9 Sex Differences in the Flexibility of Sexual Orientation: A Multidimensional Retrospective Assessment Kelly K. Kinnish, Ph.D.,1 Donald S. Strassberg, Ph.D.,2,4 and Charles W. Turner, Ph.D.2,3 Received August 15, 2003; revisions received March 16, 2004 and September 13, 2004; accepted September 18, 2004 The flexibility of sexual orientation in men and women was examined by assessing self-reported change over time for three dimensions of sexual orientation (sexual fantasy, romantic attraction, and sexual behavior) across three categorical classifications of current sexual orientation (heterosexual, bisexual, and gay). The primary purpose of the study was to determine if there were sex differences in the flexibility (i.e., change over time) of sexual orientation and how such differences were manifested across different dimensions of orientation over the lifespan. Retrospective, life-long ratings of sexual orientation were made by 762 currently self-identified heterosexual, bisexual, and gay men and women, aged 36 to 60, via a self-report questionnaire. Cumulative change scores were derived for each of the three dimensions (fantasy, romantic attraction, and sexual behavior) of orientation by summing the differences between ratings over consecutive 5-year historical time periods (from age 16 to the present). Sex differences were observed for most, but not all, classification groups. There were significant sex differences in reported change in orientation over time for gays and heterosexuals, with women reporting greater change in orientation over time than did men. Bisexual men and women did not differ with respect to self-reported change in orientation. KEY WORDS: sexual orientation; homosexuality; bisexuality; sex differences. research. These include (1) conversion therapy outcome studies which, with very few exceptions (e.g., Spitzer, 2003), document very low success rates in treatment efforts to alter sexual orientation (e.g., Haldeman, 1991, 1994); (2) research suggesting a developmental continuity between gender-atypical behavior in childhood and later adult homosexuality (Bailey & Zucker, 1995; Bell et al., 1981; Green, 1974, 1987); and (3) studies of the biological etiology of sexual orientation, an underlying assumption of which is that evidence of such a contribution to etiology implies a probabilistic relationship between the identified biological condition and sexual orientation outcome (e.g., D¨orner, 1968; D¨orner & Hintz, 1968; Meyer-Bahlburg


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